“God’s mercy is greater than our sins. There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but rather to self-preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and our failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says, ‘I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.’ It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride.
Lent is a time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord. The question is: ‘Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer… or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?’ The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.” – Henri Nouwen (from A Cry for Mercy)